Victoria Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh
Beekeepers Bitter Over Labor’s Failure To Control Weeds
Victor P Taffa
The Brumby Government must take decisive action to save Victoria’s Honey Bee Industry, Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said today.
Mr. Walsh said the Honey Industry was being threatened by the invasion of Blanket and Carpet Weed.
“The spread of Carpet Weed is having a shocking impact on Honey Production, particularly around Corio and Geelong, while Blanket Weed is affecting Beekeepers in Victoria’s North-East.”
“The Pollen produced by these weeds is very attractive to Honey Bees but the honey it produces is dark, bitter and unsaleable.” Mr. Walsh said.
“Apiarists around the state will be affected if the rapid spread of these weeds is not brought under control and Australia’s status as an exporter of premium light honey could be downgraded.”
Mr. Walsh said the Brumby Government should declare the weeds noxious and immediately develop a control plan.
“The Brumby Government has taken no decisive action to control these weeds, despite the establishment of the Noxious Weed Review Committee in 2004.”
“In some areas VicRoads is reportedly planting blanket weed on road verges to control erosion and the weed is rapidly spreading across public and private land.” Mr. Walsh said.
“Beekeepers raised the issue directly with Agriculture Minister Joe Helper in April but they have been bitterly disappointed by the Minister’s failure to act.”
“The Apiary Industry is in crisis while the Minister dithers and tries to ignore the weeds which are spreading freely across the state.”
Mr. Walsh said the Brumby Government failed to appreciate the true value of the honey industry which was vital to the pollination of many crops including almonds, canola and pasture seed.
“The spread of this weed is another blow to the industry which is still recovering from last year’s bushfires and the loss of beekeeping sites under the Brumby Government’s park policies.” Mr. Walsh said.
“The Apiary Industry makes a direct contribution of between $4 Billion and $6 Billion to Agricultural Production each year.
“The impacts on Agriculture will be enormous if the government doesn’t take immediate and decisive action to address these issues.” Mr. Walsh said.